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Men's Clothing Store Brings RFID Intelligence to Fitting Room

UNTUCKit is piloting RFID technology to track the movements of its "try-on" shirts into dressing rooms, and is comparing that information to sales and traffic data in order to understand which shirts draw customers' interest, how well they fit and, ultimately, whether that leads to sales.
By Claire Swedberg

The store comes with four fitting rooms, each equipped with a UHF RFID reader from SATO, explains Brent Paulsen, UNTUCKit's managing director and head of retail. At the store's entrance, a RetailNext camera-based traffic counter is mounted on the ceiling. Approximately 50 "try-on" shirts are on display, he says, each representing a unique size and category. A UHF RFID tag is built into each shirt's label, encoded with a serialized global trade item number (SGTIN), a GS1-standard ID number linked to that shirt's stock-keeping unit (SKU) information. The SGTIN consists of a global trade item number, along with a unique product or serial number.

When a shopper enters a store, the traffic counter identifies that action, which is stored in the RetailNext software. A sales associate can then greet the customer and provide the necessary help in finding a garment to try on. The employee may ask the shopper what size he or she typically wears, or approximate the correct size, and the customer can then bring that garment into the fitting room. If the shirt doesn't fit, the shopper could request a different size from the sales associate. The reader, as a component of the VISION platform, detects each item that is brought into the fitting room, based on the RFID tag in the shirt label. SATO's software captures and manages that data on UNTUCKit's local server.

If the shopper purchases the shirt, the POS data is correlated with information captured by SATO's RFID software, thereby providing analytics regarding which shirts were tried on and then purchased. "This gives us a percentage breakdown of tried-on [shirts] versus actual sales," Sanandres states. The software also enables the company to view how often shirt sizes need to be swapped during the fitting-room phase, thus helping the company to better understand how well particular shirt sizes match the expectations of customers and sales associates.

In the long term, says Keith Sherry, SATO Global Solutions' COO, the SATO software can accomplish considerably more than analyzing try-ons versus sales. For instance, it comes with an iOS- and Android-based app that sales associates can use to better serve customers. They could utilize the app to view whether products are available at other stores, or online, as well as build a shopping basket for customers and enable them to pay for shirts via the app, without standing in line at the point of sale. If the employees are using the app, the system could determine when and how often shopper-associate interactions occur, the duration of those interactions and how those factors impact shopper behavior, such as prompting try-ons and sales.

UNTUCKit's initial pilot is the tip of the iceberg of what the technology can do, Sherry says. "The technology has a lot of capability," he adds. The company intends to determine its rollout plans within a matter of months, Sanandres reports, based on the pilot results.

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